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PM Modi all set to celebrate Dussehra in Lucknow; Akhilesh Yadav unlikely to attend Ramleela event

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 11 October 2016, 8:51 IST

In what could be termed as yet another attempt to connect to the people of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the historic Aishbagh Ramlila in Lucknow on Dussehra on 11 October.

However, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will reportedly receive PM Modi at the airport but will likely skip the Ramleela event, Indian Express reported.

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister had yesterday dubbed PM Modi's upcoming visit to the state capital to attend the Dussehra celebrations as politically motivated with an eye on the upcoming state assembly polls.

"The Ravan effigy will be burnt after the Prime Minister leaves the venue. Every year we give a social message as the effigy goes up in flames, and the theme this year is 'atankvaad ka samool naash'," President of Ram Leela Samiti, the event's organisers, Harishchandra Agarwal, told Indian Express.

Usually, the Prime Ministers have celebrated the festival in the national capital.

Modi's visit assumes an added significance because of assembly polls due next year in Uttar Pradesh where the saffron party is making a concerted bid to come back to power after a gap of 15 years and is up against ruling Samajwadi Party and main opposition Mayawati-led BSP.

The Aishbagh Ramlila is also seen as a symbol of pluralistic culture, also called 'Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb', as Muslim rulers patronised it and allotted it space equal to Eidgah, which is situated right next to it.

In the absence of strong regional leaders, BJP is again banking on Modi's appeal to power its campaign in the state, which it swept in the Lok Sabha polls riding on a national wave in his support but where it is perceived to have slipped since.

The party had earlier said that Modi will be in the state every month before the campaign picks up when he is expected to address rallies and attend more events.

In May, he had launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana from Uttar Pradesh's Ballia under which cooking gas would be provided to poor families in the country.

During his July visit, he laid the foundation stones for an AIIMS and a fertilizer plant in Gorakhpur.

--With PTI inputs

First published: 11 October 2016, 8:38 IST